'Massive success and breakouts': Kenya's 2018 entertainment scene
6 months ago, 2 Jan 10:41
Karibu twenty eateen! I thought that may get our attention. After nearly 20 years in Kenya’s creative industry, I couldn’t resist the Wordplay. No, I’m not referring to the corruption written about in Michela Wrong’s 'It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower', of 2010. However, it is very much time for our creative industry to sit at the world’s dining table – and that’s what I see for Kenya in 2018. For 54 years, Kenya has been sustained by the resources of agriculture and tourism, but we are yet to see the real wealth of this nation in its intellectual property. As we closed 2017, a very key instrument to the sustainable success of intellectual property in Kenya, was in Parliament. The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2017, the work of the Kenya Copyright Board (Kecobo), in consultation with the creative industry, is a game-changing piece of legislation, containing some firsts for Africa – even ahead of the current entertainment leaders of South Africa and Nigeria. And it is being championed by Dagoretti South Member of Parliament John Kiarie - himself is an experienced creative director and comedian known as KJ - and supported by the Member of Parliament for Starehe – Charles Njagua - the musician known as Jaguar. I believe that this may the first time in Kenya’s history that we have creative professionals in Parliament. Both belonging to Jubilee, it is hoped that their party’s manifesto for our sector will now be fulfilled; thus leaving a lasting legacy, for the two terms of President Uhuru Kenyatta, in transforming the creative industry of Kenya. A key highlight of The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2017, that will bring instant transformation, is the law compelling Internet Service Providers to block access to piracy websites. Literally overnight, this will mean that the creators of music, film, television and animations in Kenya, will earn from their intellectual property, via (mainly local) online distributors like Mdundo, Waabeh, SuperNgoma, ZikiLab, etc for music; and Netflix, Showmax, iFlix, ViuSasa, RongaTV & MyChoiceTV for film, television (inclusive of comedy, theatre, etc) and animations. The same Legislation will protect & grow the upcoming online gaming industry too. Incidentally, the Kenyan game developer and animator – Andrew Kaggia - racked-up 84.5 million Views on globally the last 20 months. If that isn’t a testament to Kenyan creativity, then I don’t know what is. The same Bill has enhanced structures in place to combat the pirating of literature, books, manuscripts, etc. The net effect of this anti-piracy legislation is billions of shillings back into the economy, leading to further investment into content creation, education and training, which shall result in thousands of jobs for our youth and more taxes for the government to use for the further development of Kenya. Another key benefit of The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2017 is more definitive powers to Kecobo to regulate Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) of copyright and related rights. Last year witnessed a scenario where Kecobo withdrew the license for the Music Copyright Society ...
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